14 Nov 2003

Trial of three senior Fiji politicians facing coup-related charges transferred to High Court

4:58 pm on 14 November 2003

Serious coup related charges against three senior political figures in Fiji have been transferred to the High Court.

The accused are Fiji's vice president, Ratu Jope Seniloli, the deputy speaker of parliament, Ratu Rakuita Vakalalabure, and the sports minister, Isireli Leweniqila.

They have been charged with taking an unlawful oath to commit a capital offence and another of engaging in a seditious enterprise.

The charges relate to their being sworn in to George Speight's failed administration a day after the coup.

Fiji TV reports that magistrate Eparama Rokoika agreed that the case be transferred to the High Court after an application by the state prosecutor.

The vice president was not in court yesterday with his lawyer telling the magistrate that Ratu Jope was attending a meeting of the Great Council of Chiefs.

Three other men charged with the same offences are a former Chaudhry government MP, Peceli Rinakama, nationalist, Viliame Savu and former army officer, Viliame Volavola.

All six will appear in the High Court on December 11th.